Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

RE: [Icehouse] Generic Gnostica Deck

  • FromDavid Artman <david@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateMon, 16 Jul 2007 13:46:48 -0700
There are print on demand card printers, as well as short-run card printers.

IIRC, they tend to only do Portrait aspect ratio cards; square cards require a rather unconventional setup for their cutters. Then again, the POD industry is blowing up, these days; and everything I just wrote might be obsolete (I haven't done the rounds in a few months).

With 78 cards, that nicely fits 9 sheets of Letter paper. I would cut mine out using a paper cutter, for very consistent edges, and then have them laminated, for heft (rather than printing on card stock) and water resistance.

While square cards aren't ideal for holding, Gnostica has a LOT of movement of the cards on the board, which means spinning them 90° often. I admit that I have wondered why folks do that spinning (we just layout in a rectangle and keep them aligned). I suppose it's the legacy of a round card table (and, meanwhile, we're usually playing in a bar booth or on a rectangular table).

As for space on the cards for printed rules:
* 3 x 3 squares on Letter = 8" x 8" usable (1/2" margins needed for many printers)
* 8" / 3 = ~2 5/8"²
* Allow ~ 5/8" strip at top for symbol, name, color bar, and number (1, 2, or 3; not dots)
- ("Wheel of Fortune" is the longest card name, and it can fit 5/8" high at 18 points Arial Black and still leave room for the number 3 on right and three symbols below... though, as it turns out, WOF only needs one symbol, but you get my point.)
* 2" x 2 5/8" box can contain 12 rows of 28 characters = 336 characters (Arial Black 10 point characters on 12 points leading)
* Longest card-specific rule in Gnostica: Hermit
"Move a targeted piece to any empty territory or wasteland space on the board, or move a targeted territory to any wasteland on the board not occupied by enemy pieces. As with rods, if you move your own piece it may be placed in any orientation, but if you move an opponent piece it must remain in the same orientation it had before moving. When using the Hermit to move a territory, the targeted territory may not be occupied by enemy pieces." (443 characters, counting spaces).

So... long story short, part of the process would be editing down the verbiage to be as tight (and consistent) as possible.
That does not, however, leave much room for that public domain art, huh?

SO.... maybe the better idea is to make them 2 x 3 on a sheet, at about 3.5"²? But given that the only thing one REALLY needs to spot is suit and number (and whether royalty or major), maybe even the "art" could be abstracted quite a bit on the minor arcana cards.

My understanding of "card art," in general, is that it's there to aide recognition of a card, in a set of many varied cards. But given that one really only needs to know which 10 of a suit are 1s and which 4 are 2s, a LOT of the cards will just be repeated text (and, thus, art). I think backing off the high detail of Tarot card art in favor of fast recognition (like playing card art) is worth it, even though it wouldn't be as pretty on the table. SO, really, the only card art in conflict with long text is on about 8 of the major arcana cards....

Anyhow... this is fun, but all speculation until I get past Pocket Pyramids.